If there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, you will most likely be able to travel within Canada without issue until you encounter the police. Police throughout Canada can find out if there is a warrant for your arrest by accessing the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). CPIC is a national database that allows the police to quickly search for information regarding any person, and will provide them with information such as whether there is a warrant for that person’s arrest, if that person has been accused of a crime, or if that person is on probation. Thus, if you encounter the police, and they run your information through CPIC for any reason (for example, because you were pulled over for speeding), they will immediately be able to see that there is a warrant for your arrest. If you are within the province that issued the warrant, you can expect to be arrested by the police and taken into custody.
Even though warrants are only valid in the province where they were issued, there are some circumstances where you can be arrested for that warrant outside of the province that issued it. For more information on out-of-province warrants please see “What happens if there is a warrant for my arrest in a different province?”
If you attempt to leave Canada, you may also be stopped at the border if the border guards find out that there is a warrant for your arrest. Canadian border agents have recently been granted access to CPIC, so like the police, they are now able to identify individuals who have a warrant for their arrest. If a border guard searches CPIC when you are trying to cross the border and they see there is a warrant for your arrest, they can detain you until the police come and take you into custody.
Given that there is continually a risk that a warrant will hinder your ability to travel inside and outside of Canada, if you have any reason to believe that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, contact one of our lawyers immediately. We will be able to help you determine if there is in fact a warrant for your arrest, help you discharge your warrant, and help you deal with your criminal charges quickly and efficiently so that you can go back to living your life normally.